Put Down That Lipstick Sample! (It Might Have Feces On It)

There are certain things in life you may choose to turn a blind eye to. Your credit card bill. The amount of calories in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. The lack of rationale behind the five-second rule. Similarly, when you’re browsing lipstick samples or even ducking into a Sephora for a quickie touch-up (as we often do en route to the bar), you probably choose not to think about what exactly you’re putting onto your face. A disturbing article in the L.A. Times about germs on makeup testers confirms what you really, really don’t want to believe.The gist? Almost any cosmetics sample you put to your skin has been contaminated with anything from herpes and staph, to strep, and worse (if that’s even possible)—E. coli. Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, who has done extensive biological research on makeup samples across department stores, tells the L.A. Times, “Wherever you see E. coli, you should just think ‘E. coli equals feces.’ That means someone went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.” Did you just puke in your mouth a little bit? We did.

What to do when trying out new products? Head for packaging with pump dispensers, clean lipsticks with alcohol swabs (don’t just think you’re being good by putting a Q-Tip to something instead of your finger, you have to clean it first), avoid testing cosmetics near your eyes, nose, or mouth (opt for your hand), and always make sure makeup counter attendants clean things in front of you or use disposable applicators. Sadly, even with these precautions, you’ll probably come into contact with some germs. Which, we suppose, you’ll just have to ignore? [L.A. Times]